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Type 1 artist project gave ‘respite’ during lockdown

By Editor
10th September 2020
Type 1 diabetes

A project involving a group of people with type 1 diabetes and healthcare professionals with a specialism in diabetes has been praised for providing “respite” during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Art1st was founded in 2019 by Professor Partha Kar, National Specialty Advisor for Diabetes at NHS England, to unite people who have diabetes and encourage them to showcase their creative talents.

Professor Kar said: “I have always firmly believed in the many benefits that building connections and mutual support within the diabetes community can offer.”

The organising committee

The initial idea was to hold a live event in June so people with type 1 diabetes could showcase their art, music, photography, singing and crafts. But, the show was postponed because of coronavirus, instead organisers launched an online platform.

A member of the organising team Adrian Long said: “The period of lockdown and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be long remembered as a time of much anxiety and loneliness, not least for those living with underlying health conditions such as diabetes.

“However, once it became clear that a live event was out of the question, we set up an online event where people were encouraged to submit their work via social media channels and to see it shared with a wider audience.

“The response was remarkable and gave people some respite from the doom and gloom that was being reported on a daily basis during lockdown. We saw a variety of arts, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, crafts, photography, music, dance, fashion and poetry showcased every day for two months. Our project attracted  interest and participation from people with diabetes of all ages and many backgrounds, as well as from their families and from the healthcare professionals who work with them.”

Hundreds of submissions were received from across the UK but also from other countries, as far afield as India, the US and Canada. In addition, the social media channels and website received thousands of visitors, where all the work and performances can still be viewed.

A live event is still being planned, and will take place at a prestigious central London venue in the future, once it is safe and practicable to do so.

The show will feature some of the best visual material from the online version as an exhibition, and live performances of some of the poetry, music and dance.

To visit the website, click here.

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